What grades are offered by Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School (MAVA@GCVS)?
The program serves students in grades K–12 from around the state.
What subjects will my child study?
Elementary (Grades K–5): The required elementary program consists of the four core academic courses of reading/language arts, math, science, and social studies/history. Students are required to have a plan for some type of exercise or fitness activities to meet the physical education requirement.
Elementary students may also take art or music as a full-year elective course. Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 who are at or above grade level in all subjects have the option of taking a world language elective course. French, Spanish, Latin, and Chinese are available. Elective courses are self-contained, mastery-based, and are graded Pass/Fail.
Middle School (Grades 6–8): The required middle school program consists of the four core academic courses of English/language arts, math, science, and world/American history. Students are required to have a plan for exercise, fitness, or sport activities to meet the physical education requirement.
Middle school students may also take art or music as a full-year elective course. Students who are at or above grade level in all subjects have the option of taking a world language elective course. French, Spanish, Latin, and Chinese are available. Elective courses are self-contained, mastery-based, and are graded Pass/Fail.
High School (Grades 9–12): The required high school program consists of the four core academic courses of English, math, science, and history. Student courses in academic areas are based on a college career plan, state/district requirements, and student interests. Students are required to have a plan for exercise, fitness, or sport activities to meet the physical education requirement. High school students must have a graduation course plan, outlined at the beginning of their studies. The plan is discussed with a guidance counselor/advisor and can be modified during the high school years.
High school students may also take a variety of electives to meet school graduation requirements. All elective courses to be applied toward graduation requirements have teacher support.
Does MAVA@GCVS provide textbooks and other instructional materials?
Yes, we provide all the textbooks and instructional materials that are needed to complete the courses your student will take each year. These books and materials are sent to students directly.
Will my child be able to work at his or her own pace?
The online K–8 program is self-paced and flexible within the parameters specified by state law and school district policy. Students are expected to achieve a year's academic growth in a year's time. The online high school program is a combination of self-paced work and scheduled lessons and activities.
Will you be able to meet the needs of an academically gifted or advanced student?
Yes. The K¹² curriculum used at MAVA@GCVS is challenging and can meet the needs of academically advanced or gifted students. Through the flexibility the virtual school model offers, it is possible for students to advance and take courses at a higher level than their assigned grade level, if this is deemed appropriate. The Greenfield School District encourages advancement, in fact, 30% of Greenfield's eighth grade students took high school courses during their eighth-grade year. These decisions are made based on the interests and achievement levels of each individual student.
How much time do students spend on the computer?
We expect that students will spend no more than 20 to 25 percent of their time on the computer in the early grades. While attendance, planning, and assessment are all recorded online, only about 30 percent of the K-8 lessons are taught online. The program is designed with a belief in a balanced approach toward the use of computers in learning, adapted appropriately for the age of the student. Computers act as powerful tools that can motivate, stimulate, and inform children about the world around them. Computers do not, however, replace the self-study, projects, and work with other students and teachers that make for a well-rounded education in today's technical environment. That's why we use a unique multimedia approach that will also include a great deal of well-written and designed textbooks, workbooks, and hands-on instructional materials.
What does it cost to attend MAVA@GCVS?
Since MAVA@GCVS is a public virtual school, there is no tuition for Massachusetts students who meet the eligibility requirements. However, students and families will be responsible for providing some consumable materials (such as printer ink and paper). For out-of-state students, there is a $6,800 tuition fee associated with enrolling in the program and these students should apply directly to the Superintendent of Greenfield Public Schools.
How do students interact socially?
Throughout the year, students are invited to participate in school outings and activities, which may include trips to museums, zoos, clubs, student government, dances, and even graduation ceremonies. Depending on the density of enrollment in different regions of the state, we will try to have students and parents to get together on a regular basis in their geographic areas. We are also exploring new ways to interact socially using the powerful reach of the Internet. With online discussions and forums, new types of communities can be formed that are based not on geography but on shared interests.
Massachusetts' virtual school guidelines allow students to spend up to 20% of their time connected in some way to their public school and still be considered a virtual school student. Involvement in their resident district's programs is a decision of the local school district, however, we encourage parents to consider this possibility.
Will this program intrude into my home?
There are no home visits as part of the program, and there are no cameras or any other intrusions into your home. This school model was created to help students obtain a first-class, standards-based education without having to be inside a public school facility. In addition, it provides an education option that comes to the student, and allows learning to take place at anytime—day or night.
Have more questions?
You are welcome to send any questions to our Executive Director, Carl Tillona, at cartil1@gpsK¹².org. Answers to questions will be posted on the FAQ page for parents and others.